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Percona launches XtraDB Cluster for
MySQL database high availability
Analyst: Matt Aslett
10 Apr, 2012
Percona has announced a number of enhancements to its MySQL database-related technology to
coincide with its hosting of the MySQL Conference and Expo. The launch of XtraDB Cluster, based
on Codership's Galera software, is significant in that expands the company's focus to address the
large proportion of the MySQL user base that does not have requirements for the
high-performance expertise the company is best known for.
The 451 Take
We have seen increased interest from the MySQL community in the Galera synchronous
replication library, and it is no surprise to see one of the MySQL supporters pick it up and
throw their weight behind it. Percona is well-respected for its MySQL expertise, as well as its
consulting and support services, especially in high-performance deployments. We noted
previously that Percona had wider ambitions in terms of being a mainstream provider of
MySQL support for enterprise deployments, providing a complement to its focus on high
performance and scalability, and XtraDB Cluster provides it with a differentiated product with
which to target more mainstream users.
We noted in December 2011 that MySQL support and services provider Percona was increasing its
influence in the ecosystem of products and services for Oracle's MySQL database, as evidenced by
its hosting of the MySQL Conference and Expo. As the event gets underway in Santa Clara (April
10-12), the company has announced a number of enhancements to its technology portfolio,
Copyright 2012 - The 451 Group 1
including the launch of XtraDB Cluster, which is particularly significant in expanding the company's
Formed to offer consulting services, training and custom development for the MySQL database,
Percona always had a significant focus on projects with the greatest need for high performance.
That focus continues with the company's support subscription offering for Oracle MySQL, Oracle
MySQL Cluster, MariaDB, Amazon RDS for MySQL and the Drizzle project, as well as its own Percona
Server distribution of MySQL, which includes performance-related patches and fixes. The company
has now amassed over 1,400 customers for those services and subscription offerings, up from
1,000 a year ago.
However, the new XtraDB Cluster product is targeted at the estimated 80% of MySQL users that do
not have the sort of high-performance requirements for which Percona is best known. Based on the
Galera synchronous multi-master replication software created by Codership, it is designed to
simplify high availability of MySQL databases using the InnoDB storage engine (and Percona's
XtraDB variant), especially in low bandwidth environments, making it suitable for replication to
cloud platforms, according to Percona. XtraDB Cluster has been jointly developed with, and will be
jointly supported by, Codership, and includes automatic node provisioning, multi-master replication
and parallel replication capabilities. Percona XtraDB Cluster is open source and freely available as a
stand-alone offering, with 24x7 support available as part of Percona's MySQL Support subscription.
In addition to the launch of XtraDB Cluster, the company has announced the release of XtraBackup
2.0 for MySQL and Percona Server, which includes improvements to the backup software to support
XtraDB Cluster, as well as parallel compression and streaming incremental backups to increase
backup performance. Additionally, the company released Percona Toolkit 2.1 – the latest version of
its suite of tools for Percona support staff, including a tool that enables online schema changes –
and the alpha release of its MySQL PAM Authentication module, designed to be an open source
alternative to Oracle's external authentication for Pluggable Authentication Modules, which is only
available with MySQL Enterprise Edition.
While Percona's most direct competition is from MySQL owner and developer Oracle, Percona's
focus on high performance MySQL installations has enabled it to operate as a complement to
Oracle's more mainstream MySQL support offering. The launch of Percona's first annual support
subscription for MySQL in late 2010 was an indication that it was looking to challenge Oracle more
directly, and the fact that XtraDB Cluster is designed to target mainstream users is further proof.
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Specifically, XtraDB Cluster is likely to be considered as an alternative to Oracle's MySQL Cluster,
with the key differentiator being that while MySQL Cluster is based on the NDB storage engine,
rather than MySQL's default InnoDB storage engine, XtraDB Cluster is designed to work with InnoDB
and Percona's XtraDB variant.
Percona also sees Schooner Information Technology's SchoonerSQL as a key rival. It is also based
on MySQL and InnoDB, and offers automatic failover and recovery across local area networks via
synchronous replication. Unlike XtraDB Cluster, Schooner's high availability and synchronous
replication capabilities are not open source. Continuent must also be considered a key competitor,
with its Tungsten open source asynchronous replication and clustering software, as well as its
partnership with MySQL support and services provider SkySQL. Other MySQL support providers
include Monty Program, OpenLogic, Open Query, Blue Gecko and Pythian Group's MySQL consulting
and support practice.
Percona is well known and respected in the MySQL
community for its support and expertise, especially
for high-performance issues.
That high-performance focus may have limited its
profile in the past to some extent, but that is being
addressed as the company looks at wider adoption.
High availability and replication performance are
ongoing issues with MySQL, so the company has
picked a good technology with which to expand its
Oracle looms large over the rest of the MySQL
ecosystem, and has shown in recent years that it is
willing to invest in improving the performance and
capabilities of MySQL itself.
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